Rest in peace, Paul Bell

State Representative Paul Bell, a Democrat representing Iowa House district 41 (Newton area) for nine terms, died today. He was only 59 and had been diagnosed with stomach cancer last year. Despite extensive treatments, the cancer spread quickly. Last week Bell’s family told journalists that he had been hospitalized with advanced cancer. Jennifer Jacobs reported for the Des Moines Register,

During this past legislative session, which ran January to March, Bell had chemotherapy and radiation treatment throughout. But he didn’t miss a day at the Iowa Capitol.

As a legislator for 17 years, Bell, a former Newton police officer, was best known for his dedication to the environment. He also worked extensively on law enforcement and public safety issues.

Today Iowa House Speaker Pat Murphy and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy released this statement:

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Rep. Paul Bell.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Nikki, and their two children.

As a police office and legislator from Newton , he spent his life keeping his community safe and making Iowa  a better place to live.  After serving 18 years in the Iowa House and chairing the Natural Resources Committee, Iowans will benefit from Rep. Bell’s passion and commitment to preserving our natural resources for generations to come.  He will be sorely missed in the Iowa House.”

Please feel free to share your thoughts and memories in this thread.

UPDATE: Iowa House Republican leader Kraig Paulsen released the following statement: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Rep. Bell’s family during this difficult time. Rep. Bell was a respected legislator who gave his time and energy serving others in the state legislature.”

Environmental organizer and activist Christian Ucles commented:

Iowa Legislator Paul Bell died. He will be sorely missed, he was a man larger than life. A kind, Compassionate, caring man. God Bless You

SECOND UPDATE: Statement from Representative Leonard Boswell:

“Paul Bell was a strong advocate for Newton and Jasper County in the Iowa House and an important partner of mine in representing those communities. I had the opportunity to serve with him for three years during my time as President of the Iowa Senate and I can’t say enough about his tireless commitment to his constituents. My wife, Dody, and I send our thoughts and prayers to Paul’s wife, Niki, and his children.”

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  • What a terrible loss

    I worked with Rep. Bell on a number of occasions – both when I worked at the capitol and outside during campaigns.  He was a good man who cared deeply about his community.  His public service wasn’t limited to his time in the legislature, either.  He was a career law enforcement officer and was really committed to both conservation and public safety issues.  He will be missed.